When Clinical Director Dr. Md Hafizur Rahman first met 16-year-old Choity Akter in 2013, the young athlete could barely run for more than 10 minutes. She could not maintain her pace, and often developed severe leg cramps which would leave her screaming in pain.
It affected her morale and confidence.
She underwent several medical tests and check-ups, and was eventually diagnosed as having iron deficiency anemia along with other nutritional deficiencies.
In consultation with her coaches and caregivers, Dr Md Hafizur ordered that she be put on a diet rich in vitamins and minerals. She was then put under a specially designed training program.
The medical intervention and training provided a boost to her health and sports performance. Within two months, Choity was competition-ready. She took part in the Special Olympics Asia Pacific Regional Games in 2013 and took home the gold medal in the 100-metre sprint.
Dr Md Hafizur, now an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Comilla Medical College and Hospital in Bangladesh, has been a Healthy Athletes Clinical Director with the Special Olympics movement since 2009. He was part of the team that provided health screenings and treatments to athletes at the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens in 2011, as well as the Asia Pacific Regional Games in New Castle in 2013.
Of his experience with the Special Olympics movement, he says, “It’s an amazing feeling to know that we can help people with intellectual disabilities perform their best, make history at the games and become the pride and joy of their families and their countries. The Special Olympics movement has given me a lot of opportunities to experience the world from the perspective of those with ID. It has completely changed my world view and fueled my passion for the movement.”